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Italy tells citizens to be vigilant in India as row deepens

- March 16, 2013 - Updated 2052 PKT - From Web Edition

NEW DELHI: Italy on Saturday warned its nationals in India to be "vigilant and cautious" amid a deepening diplomatic row over two Italian marines who skipped bail while facing trial for murder.


The advice came a day after India's airports were put on alert to block any attempt by Italy's ambassador Daniele Mancini to leave the country.


"In connection with any protests, especially in Kerala state, related to the two sailors, citizens are urged to always maintain a vigilant and cautious attitude and stay away from any crowds," the Italian embassy in New Delhi said in a website advisory.


The warning reflected apparent Italian concern about a potential backlash after Rome refused to return the two marines charged with murdering two Indian fishermen off the southern state of Kerala last year.


Local media reported fishermen's groups in Kerala have staged protests against the decision not to return the sailors while state lawmakers have voiced outrage.


India's Supreme Court on Thursday said the Italian ambassador, who struck a deal for the marines to go back home to vote in last month's Italian election, should stay in the country until the next hearing about the dispute Monday.


Rome announced earlier in the week it was reneging on a commitment to send back the two sailors, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to face trial.


Mancini had signed an affidavit giving his pledge the two would return. The dispute has been a major embarrassment for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has warned of "consequences" for ties if the pair do not return.


Singh's opponents have accused the government of incompetence for allowing the marines to go home while facing such serious charges, and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has said Italy is treating India "like a banana republic".


The marines shot dead the fishermen, saying they mistook them for pirates Italy insists the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings involved an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters, but India says the killings took place in waters under its jurisdiction.


Ties between the two nations have also been soured by corruption charges over a $748-million deal for the purchase of 12 Italian helicopters that the Indian government now is threatening to scrap.


India's foreign ministry said Friday the "entire expanse of our interaction" with Italy was being reviewed while insisting Italy must "respect and abide" by the agreements between it and the Supreme Court.


In a snub to Rome, India has decided to downgrade ties and not to post to Italy its ambassador-designate who was due to take up his post next week.


While no commercial fallout from the dispute has yet been reported, both countries stand to lose if ties worsens sharply.


Earlier this month, before the dispute over the marines erupted, the Italian ambassador told local businessmen he hoped bilateral trade would double to $15 billion by 2015 from the current $8.5 billion.


The European Union has said it hopes "that a common solution can be reached through negotiation", the Press Trust of India reported.

Reader Comments
Agreed with the first person on syanitg in the Alps. The Dolomites in Italy that's my favorite, it's unearthly beautiful. And since its so far north, it almost doesn't seem like Italy anymore, but Switzerland, or even Germany. And while at it, why not Switzerland? It has the best of both (three!) worlds, with national languages of German, Italian, and French Switzerland is one of my favorite countries in this world. And since it's entirely in the middle of the Alps, you'll be guarenteed some snow. Try Lake Geneva or Lake Como, or Bern I've never been to Bern, but hear amazing things about it, all younger people I know who go there, love it. And I belive it's a german speaking town?

India was assured that the sailors would return for trial! So it is justified in its action. Compare this to Davis' departure from Pakistan. None of the assurances given have been fulfilled and no one seems to care except the Honorable Foreign Minister who resigned at the time.

o b server
I urge EU to NOT issue visas to indians ...these gang rapers are not even sparing tourists.

Why don't India send the rapists to Switzerland to get justice they are hypocrites and if italy does not send them back what will India do nothing

United Kingdom
Two murderers and immoral government doesn’t make the whole Italy a bad nation. Public relations between Italy and India may remain the same. The Italian people should force their government to act responsibly. On the other comments about stopping the use scooters and cars. Zero, yoga, astronomy, farming techniques, many types of spices, fruits and medicines, software etc etc are invented in India but we don’t ask anyone to stop use these things. This is called as public domain knowledge.

India did the right thing. Pakistan on Ramon-Davis! who cares.

Italy has lost its credibility of the world by playing cheaply. There financial credit rating is also downgrading. The only way for them to make money is to get in to huge markets like India. but instead they chose to protect murderers officially. For those India bashing comments about rape, yes that's a bad thing to happen but nothing to do with this incidence. Italy is well known for child abuse by priests but that has nothing to do with this case either.

yep indians should stop riding bajaj scooters which are a derivative of Piagio Italy, Indians should give up Ambassador cars which find its origin in Fiat of Italy, Indians should give up Sonia Gandi WHo is Italian Citizen...oh come on India, lets move on, the sailors must really have mistook them for pirates...

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